THE number of Filipino families who consider themselves poor fell to a new record low of 38 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The SWS survey, conducted on March 28 to 31, found that only 38 percent or estimated 9.5 million families see themselves as poor,
This self-rated poverty score was 12 percentage points lower than the 50 percent in December 2018 and four percentage points below the previous record low of 42 percent in March 2018 and September 2016.
Twenty-six percent of the 38 percent self-rated poor families never experienced being non-poor (always poor), six percent were not poor five or more years ago (usually poor), and the remaining six percent used to be non-poor one to four years ago (newly poor).
The 12-percentage-point decline in nationwide self-rated poverty rate was due to decreases of 16 percentage points in Balance Luzon (35 percent), 12 percentage points in Mindanao (37 percent), six percentage points in the Visayas (55 percent), and two percentage points in Metro Manila (28 percent).
Filipino families need a minimum monthly budget of P10,000 in order for them to consider themselves as non-poor.
The same poll also found a new record low of 27 percent or estimated 6.8 million families rating their food as "poor," down by seven percentage points from 34 percent or estimated 7.9 million in December 2018.
The seven-percentage-point decline in self-rated food poverty was due to a decline of 11 percentage points in Mindanao (27 percent), seven percentage points in Balance Luzon (24 percent), three percentage points in Metro Manila (19 percent), and two percentage points in the Visayas (42 percent).
Filipino families need a monthly budget of P5,000 so as not to consider their food as poor.
In a statement on Wednesday, June 19, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo welcomed the poll results, saying that this proves that the Duterte administration "continues to break barriers."
"Poverty reduction efforts, particularly those designed for the lowest rung of society, remains on track," the Palace official said.
"We aim to reduce poverty from 21.6 percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2022, which is equivalent to lifting about six million Filipinos out of poverty by the end of the President's term. And we will grind daily to reach this goal," he added.
Panelo also lauded the country's economic team, as well as the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster, the social welfare officers and village health workers for "tirelessly making a positive impact on the socioeconomic lives of our countrymen."
"This, notwithstanding the divisive and destructive political propaganda war waged by the President's critics and detractors during the campaign period for the midterm elections when the survey was conducted," he said.
SWS interviewed 1,440 adult Filipinos by using sampling error margins of ±2.6 percentage points for national percentages, and ±5 percentage points each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. (SunStar Philippines)